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Entertaining over the Holidays

2011 December 21

 By Elizabeth Myer

Entertaining in the New York City Metropolitan area is complicated (among potential obstacles, space concerns come to mind first and foremost), but hosting guests during the holidays is another thing entirely. In my 575 square foot Manhattan apartment, I’m lucky if I can fit 10 friends at once. With that said, over the years I’ve been able to narrow down some “green” tips for entertaining during any holiday season:

  • Send electronic invitations.
  • Look for reduced packaging when shopping for pre-party food (i.e. stay away from individually packaged treats in small serving sizes).
  • Bring re-usable bags with you to the food store. No excuse.
  • Eat foods that are in season whenever possible. This way, you are much more likely to be purchasing local items.
  • Dim the lights during your gathering (compact fluorescent, of course). After all, everyone knows that the easiest way to set the mood (and save energy) is to minimize the amount of blaring artificial light.
  • Avoid using disposable cups and plates. If you don’t feel comfortable asking guests to bring their own dishware (believe it or not, this is becoming quite the trend in urban areas), rent it! These days it’s cheap and simple to rent a range of dinnerware (plus tables, chairs and tablecloths). This is a GREAT tip for New Yorkers who often lack storage space for excess plates, cups, utensils, etc.
  • Wash the dishware ASAP to significantly reduce the amount of water it takes to clean. After a long night of hosting, this one can be tricky, but it makes a world of difference.

Are you an environmentally responsible host? Let us know how you manage to be eco-friendly while throwing an awesome party (trust me, the two go hand in hand).

Happy holidays!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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One Response leave one →
  1. Jenna permalink
    December 24, 2011

    Another potential tableware alternative: biodegradable/compostable plates and utensils. They’re not cheap, though, and I’ve wondered whether they’re truly eco-friendly (and whether some brands are superior to others in that regard). I once purchased biodegradable cups which were made primarily of corn, and a cocktail that smells like corn is not that appetizing!

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